Two troopers of the CRPF’s elite Cobra battalion were killed and three injured in an encounter with Maoist rebels in Jhumra Hills in Jharkhand’s Bokaro district on Tuesday.
The gunfight, which continued late into the night, started when Jharkhand Police and CRPF personnel raided a Maoist hideout in Aman Forest under Gomia police station.
The injured CRPF men were air-lifted to Ranchi for treatment.
Jharkhand director general of police (DGP) Gauri Shankar Rath claimed rebels also suffered major casualties. “Our forces had embarked on a special operation in the hills, 150 km north-east of Ranchi, following an intelligence input,” said Rath on his way to Ranchi’s Apollo Hospital where the injured jawans were admitted.
According to intelligence reports, senior Naxal leaders were camping at a secret hideout in the hills. “The casualties on the other side could be more, but it would be premature to comment,” said Rath.
Those killed have been identified as Praveen Kumar and Ram Singh, and the injured are Asit Mallick, Bappajit Mandal and Anish Kumar.
A hotbed of Maoist activities, Jhumra has seen several encounters in the last decade.
Sources in the CRPF said the elite Cobra battalion was recently shifted to Bokaro from West Bengal after the Mamata Banerjee government stopped all operations against the Maoist rebels in the Jangalmahal region comprising Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore districts.